In just one year, San Diego native DJ Jason Ross has gone from playing local Eventvibe shows to being signed to Above & Beyond's label, Anjunabeats. His story may seem sudden, but his achievements are well deserved. Jason has been producing music since he was just twelve years old, and is finally getting credit for his hard work and patience.
As I sat down with Jason before his show at Bassmnt nightclub on Saturday night, he had a troupe of friends and fans buzzing with joy in celebration for his headlining set that night. Yet Jason remained composed, grateful and humble in spite of his success.
In this #MollyReport, Jason shares with us the roots behind his progress, how he bridged the gap from a local to global level, and the most important thing fueling his success in music.
I started in 2010 as the first DJ who starts the show... It built up until I was the direct opener!
I feel like we're coming full circle. This was the goal, so it's really cool to come back as a headliner. It's like a homecoming. Very exciting!
I've been producing since I was 12. I took it more seriously during college when I started playing shows with Eventvibe. So I was DJing shows while producing in my dorm room in college. After college I moved to L.A., and was full time producing every day and every night. That's really when things took off.
I had a release on Monster Tunes called "Burma". Above & Beyond played it on their radio show Group Therapy for three weeks in a row and that's kind of how everything started. They asked me to release with them, and now I'm an artist on Anjunabeats.
It all comes down to the music. Quality, good music that comes from the heart. Before I made Burma, I made other tracks that were big-room. Not to say that's bad, but I really didn't like them myself. When I made Burma, it was the first track where I was doing what I love and I really felt something from it. It happened to be more trancey and melodic, which I like. And that was the one that hit it off. That's when I realized, make what you love, and just practice, practice, practice.
It was more of a hobby when I was younger. I started making dance music when I was younger, but it was really cheesy if you listen to it now! That's kind of how I started. But yes, I've always been inspired and passionate about trance music.
Definitely when Burma was first played by Above & Beyond on Group Therapy radio! But another thing was at Madison Square Garden when Above & Beyond sold out the show, they played 3 of my tracks: "Atlas", "Gravity", and "Elements". I was there for it too, and it was unreal. Just seeing 15,000 people rocking out to my music... wow!
A big thing is patience. Patience is a virtue, it's true. A lot of people are very hungry, they want it right now. But the thing is with the industry, you gotta let it happen naturally. You can't force it. If you put out good music, great things will happen.
It's really a class of aspiring producers that I mentor every week. I basically build a track for them and show them the process once a week during an online session throughout an 8 week course. We have a forum where everyone can talk, exchange ideas and learn from each other. They love it, I love it, and it's such a cool thing. There's a lot of talented producers out there.
Coming up I have a 2-track EP on Anjunabeats. One is a collaboration with someone big, and there's going to be an Atlas followup as well.
Stay focused. Stay humble. Stay responsible. I don't think being a great DJ means going out, raging every night, you know. To an extent it's good to network, but I also treat this like a full-time job. When these things happened to me, I was like, let me stay focused and with my goals. I think that not letting these things get to you, like fame and fans, is what got me here faster than it would have. Because a year is kind of crazy for all of this to happen.
One more super serious question... What is the best burrito in San Diego?
Oh man. I'm gonna say the Sigma Chi burrito at Trujillo's by SDSU. Or I would say Roberto's California burrito in Del Mar. Definitely a super serious question.
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Photos by Bobby Reyes.